Raven stopped at Missy’s bedside. She was asleep. He took her hand and gently squeezed it. “I will return to you.” He raised her hand and kissed it. “I will always return to you.”
The words ‘So, don’t leave me’ hovered in his mind, waiting to be said. He kissed her hand again and laid it back down. “I will return. I promise.”
He left the room.
Don’t leave me. Is that something I can ask of her? It seems reasonable enough.
He walked down the hall. Ribbons and swathes of scents flittered through the air, serpentining around his arms and neck.
Raven held his head a little higher and walked briskly to the elevator.
Yet, it is not something she has control over. She is not immortal. She can be hurt. She can die.
Just as May Rose did.
In his mind, he saw May Rose Farlington standing on the top of the wall bordering the old Farlington estate. Seven years-old and full of fire. Her arms stretched out as if she could take flight any second.
Then, the memory shifted and time changed. May Rose Vansing lay old and dying in her bed. Seventy-five years old and fading fast. Her arm reached upwards as if she could just about touch someone’s face. Someone who was no longer there.
He entered the elevator and pressed the button for the first floor.
The elevator descended.
Raven leaned his head back against the nearest wall.
When Missy’s time upon this Earth has reached its end, will I be standing at her side? Or will I be the unseen one she is reaching for?
He sighed. “It is impossible to know.”
The elevator reached the first floor without any interruptions. Raven left it and brisk-walked to the front doors. He stepped outside.
The smell of cigarette ashes infiltrated the night air. He could smell it without even trying.
He wrinkled his nose at the smell. “That is a scent I will never pursue.” He walked forward into the night.
And his day had officially begun.
Ambrose rolled onto his back and opened his eyes. Barbara’s scent was all around him, all over him. He could almost see it in the bedroom’s dark air —- warm brown and cream white. He raised his arm and extended his claws.
Maybe it was his imagination, but he could feel the semi-sweet chocolate and vanilla scent slide down his claws like slender, loving fingers. Gentle and intoxicating down to his hand and seductive pressure around his wrist.
He opened his mouth and inhaled the sweet scent. His stomach growled.
“No.” He dropped his hand onto the bed. “I will never do it again. No matter how it calls to me and tantalizes me, I will not give in. I will not bite her. Never again. Not even if I were desperate. Not even if she told me to do it. I won’t.”
The bathroom light sliced the dark as Barbara opened the door.
Ambrose rolled onto his side and admired her.
She had changed into a pink satin nightgown that skimmed her body in just the right way. It had no sleeves, just lacy spaghetti straps. The nightgown reached just a little below her knees. It wasn’t even half as provocative as the delicate little things Aunt Nora and Aunt Maura had bought her, but it certainly had the same effect.
Her bare skin seemed to glow in the bathroom’s light. She looked so soft, so touchable.
I want…I want to touch her. I want to pull that nightgown off. I want her. Ohhh, I want her.
The nightgown shimmered with every deliberately slow step she made.
Ambrose moaned. He couldn’t help it. All of him longed for her touch. And she looked so soft.
She smiled and seemed to move even slower.
He reached for her, stretching his arm as far as it could go.
Barbara took mercy on him and picked up her pace.
Ambrose sat up and held out both arms.
She ran to him.
In a matter of minutes, she was in his arms again.